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School Vote

Florence B. Black leaves Port Byron High School after voting Tuesday.

Kevin Rivoli, The Citizen

A vast majority of New York school district budgets passed Tuesday, according to an analysis conducted by the state School Boards Association. 

In 653 districts, voters approved the spending plans for the 2018-19 school year. There were only 16 budgets defeated by voters. The state School Boards Association didn't have results from seven districts. 

The school budgets in each of the nine Cayuga County-area school districts were approved by voters Tuesday

The total number of budgets approved by voters represents a 97.6 percent success rate. That's down from the 99.3 percent of budgets that passed last year.

Since 1969, the state School Boards Association says the average school budget passage rate has been roughly 86 percent. 

"School boards and their leadership teams put together budgets that were fiscally restrained yet response to the needs of their communities," said Timothy Kremer, executive director of the state School Boards Association.

The average tax levy increase in New York school budgets was 2.14 percent for 2018-19, according to the state School Boards Association. Budgets were approved in a vast majority of districts — 98.6 percent — that kept tax levy hikes under the state-imposed property tax cap. 

However, there were 14 districts that exceeded the tax cap and required a supermajority of 60 percent to pass their budgets. Only half of those budgets were approved by voters. 

The state's leading teachers union, New York State United Teachers, also hailed the school budget passage rate. The union's own estimate found 98 percent of school budgets were approved by voters. 

"New York state parents and community members are part of a larger national movement to support teachers and public education," said Andy Pallotta, NYSUT's president. "They know that public schools are our best investment and they showed their love for their local schools by overwhelmingly approving school budgets statewide!" 

For the school districts that failed to pass budgets, a second vote on a 2018-19 spending plan could be held June 19. If voters once again reject the budget, the district would adopt a contingency budget. 

Online producer Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.

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